Chokladfabriken is a must for many – and a personal favorite – in Stockholm. So, to get some goodies in the form of a thin pure chocolate slice, from Chocolat Factory – straight from the heart of Barcelona, was a funny thing that ended up with some comparative research. A look to these parallel stories provides an interesting reflection of the meaning of success, ambition and entrepreneurship in either country as well as, the impact of design and innovation in the sweet trade.
Chokladfabriken is a Swedish entrepreneurial initiative that back in ’97 married 14 years of experience as pastry chef with the honest business idea: the simple will to keep in-site production of delicate chocolates out of fine materials. Open windows to the street surround the factory, placed in a hidden street of Södermalm. An easy way of turning all passers-by into voyeurs to spot what is made by those eight pairs of hands. It grows confidently, slowly as steps over the snow: one can count now three stores in the city, after 11 years of clarity and nice fikas. The site feels as homemade as their shop, extremely honest, down to earth, sticking to principles, natural, crystal-clear.
Chocolatfactory is presented to the world by a funny flash-based site, freshly kidding about the founders, flooded of cool, with little mention of the incredible number of design prizes they have been awarded with (Design Management Europe in 2008, Prince of Asturias (Spain) in 2005, tones of Reddot Awards to name a few) or their outstanding growth. Although also founded in ’97, the mind behind it has no parallel with the former Scandinavians.
Michael Laline is a Belgian architect and designer turned chef when realizing that, he neither liked his professional activities nor the people involved with them. So, by turning his eyes to the design possibilities around this new material, ended up melting high-quality chocolate with Belgian sapience, producing creative shapes which would later be packed in eye-catching boxes and marketed with sparkling irony. The concept spread virulently with more than twenty stores selling now, all over the world.
With success, mushroomed the followers, chasing for some space in this growing market segment. I personally recall Chokladfabriken as of being quite unique, yet traditional but with one clear difference – the opened window – while Xocoa in Madrid and Barcelona or Xoko in Stockholm feel the same. Copycats always stay behind disruptions and maybe, only brilliant minds are able to sustain design through the years, as a competitive advantage to mark a recognizable difference in the customer’s mind.
However, I still question myself about the human limits of never-ending creativity as a complex, exhausting activity for the brain.
This is a post by the David Report contributor Claudia Muñiz García.